Christmas reminds me of NASCAR. It passes by and then it comes around again – over and over. Lately it’s been coming around faster than ever.

In fact, it arrived in Portland, OR around Halloween. I remember a few years ago when people griped about the department stores putting Christmas decorations out before Thanksgiving. We didn’t know how good we had it. Now they are putting things out before Halloween. It’s disconcerting to see red and green decorations and snowy white angels on shelves next to orange ceramic pumpkins and ugly witches.

Even worse than that is the Christmas programs already starting on TV. Used to be – and I’m talking a couple of years ago – you could at least get through Thanksgiving before Santa and Rudolf started showing their red noses on TV. Already they’re running Santa movies – for the last two weeks – and it’s the day before Thanksgiving.

What’s this world coming to?

Trick or treaters in Santa costumes?

Giving trick or treaters those swirly Christmas candies that get gooey and stick together because they’re for “decoration” and nobody actually eats them?

Sell pumpkins as Christmas ornaments?

Get rid of the turkey and have a Christmas ham for Thanksgiving?

When I was a kid it seemed like Christmas took forever to get here. That’s because it was considered tacky to put anything Christmassy out until after Thanksgiving. People already have Christmas lights on their houses – I drove by one a couple of days ago with lights all over their outside tree and a lighted reindeer in the yard. Years ago we would have shunned them into keeping that stuff in the attic until the proper time. Now you just shake your head and wonder what the heck’s the hurry.

This is why Christmas feels like NASCAR to me – it lasts four months by the time you see things in the stores in October and it’s still in the stores in January on the clearance aisles. There’s not a lot of time in between like there used to be – it just keeps whipping back around. About the time you get all those decorations into the attic in late February when football season is over and you can pry the remote control out of your husband’s hand, you get a short lull and then “Tis the Season” is back again.

I love Christmas, I really do. But there’s an old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” and I’m feeling mighty contemptuous thinking about all those TV commercials I’m going to be watching the next few weeks. They rank up there with mud-slinging political ads for being annoying and repetitive – kindof like the only NASCAR race I’ve attended…